Tuesday, May 26, 2015

EC’s notice null and void

by Jonathan Chia, reporters@theborneopost.com. Posted on May 26, 2015, Tuesday

High Court declares delineation exercise notice not in accordance with Federal Constitution

See (left) with Fong (right) and other senior federal counsels after the court proceeding at Kuching High Court yesterday.
KUCHING: Kuching High Court Judge Datuk Yew Jen Kie yesterday made an additional order to declare Election Commission’s (EC) Notice of Delineation Exercise dated Jan 5, 2015 as null and void and of no legal effect.

“There should be an order of declaration that the publication of the notice of proposed recommendation of the delineation into constituencies for the purpose of election in the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly was not in accordance with Section 4 of the Thirteenth Schedule and, therefore, null and void and of no legal effect,” she said.

Before this, the High Court had ordered EC to republish the notice “in full compliance with the provisions contained in the Thirteenth Schedule of the Federal Constitution”.

Yew, in her May 15, 2015, ruling on the judicial review brought by Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How and a voter in Ulu Baram, Pauls Baya, agreed with See’s contention that there was a serious and considerable lack of details in the Jan 5 notice for people who are affected to make a decision.

She said it was essential for EC to publish the electoral roll, the list of proposed changes, and the areas affected so the public would know how they would be affected by the redrawing. The failure of the EC to publish the notice in detail, she added, had breached the requirements spelt out in the Federal Constitution.

With the latest ruling, the EC would have to go through the process all over again under Section 4 of the Thirteenth Schedule, such as republishing the notice and carry out enquiries before the recommendation is tabled in Parliament for approval.See said after the court proceeding that the EC would have to republish the notice and start the process again.

“But then there is already a lot of information available from the previous exercise. All they need to do is just to give more information and make the process of delineation more transparent and just.

“I think this is what we are entitled to. This is actually putting into order a better process that the EC should follow, which I think is good,” he said. See believed the republication of the notice and delineation exercise could be completed before the 11th state election as the term of the present State Assembly would only expire in a year’s time – in June 2016.

“The EC can complete the whole exercise in five months. That was the time they took to complete the last delineation exercise,” he said.

See, who is also PKR Sarawak vice chairman, said he personally did not take part in the objection and did not participate in the last enquiries following his decision to challenge the publication of the notice. He did not want to speculate whether PKR Sarawak would file objections and participate in the upcoming enquiries after the new publication of delineation notice.

“It depends on the notice to be republished and the proposed recommendations.

“But I think they should learn from this decision because the judge has spelled out what are the contents that are found lacking, such as the provision of electoral rolls and that they should give more detailed particulars. They should comply with the decision of the Court.”

Meanwhile, State Legal advisor, Datuk JC Fong, when interviewed after the judge had made the additional order, said nothing was mentioned about the enquiries that had been held and representation that had been made, that there had been no order to the effect.

Asked whether the whole exercise would be defective considering the notice had been declared null and void, Fong said, “The court did not rule that the process of receiving representation and holding enquiry on those representation or objection was null and void.”

When asked if the state government would appeal against the court decision, he said the state government was only an affected party and was just offering its views, which had already been given to the court.

Read more: http://www.theborneopost.com/2015/05/26/ecs-notice-null-and-void/#ixzz3bCAtJGvE

Zunar - the People’s Cartoonist

9:14AM May 25, 2015
By Mariam Mokhtar
Zunar openly declared his new role as ‘The People’s Cartoonist’ at an event in London, called 'Zunar in conversation with Martin Rowson' on May 14.

Rowson is the political cartoonist for The Guardian and The Daily Mirror, and was the Poet Laureate for London in 2001. Steve Bell, another cartoonist for The Guardian, was also at the event, where they could express their views as cartoonists and critics of their governments.

Zunar said, “We live in a regime. Although our job is to criticise the government of the day, there is no government in Malaysia. We have been ruled by the same political party for more than 58 years. That is not a government. It is a regime.”

Both Rowson and Zunar talked about their experiences of drawing in two completely different environments. Rowson acknowledged the enormity of the pressures on Zunar and said, “I do not know what I would do if I were in your situation.”

The situation Rowson referred to is the record-breaking nine charges under the Sedition Act for Zunar’s comments made on Twitter, and if convicted, the possibility of 43 years of imprisonment.

Both cartoonists shoulder heavy responsibilities. Although they criticise their governments, Zunar said that as a Malaysian political satirist, he had the added duty of having to fight for reform.

Zunar said, “In Malaysia we have to do more than criticise. We have to fight for reform. We have to fight more than to criticise.”

Political cartoonists draw snap-shots of the main political protagonists and their relationship with one another. So, Zunar would draw judges being manipulated by the prime minister, and the PM, being 'manipulated' by the most powerful person in Malaysia, his wife, the self-styled 'First Lady of Malaysia' (Flom).

Images of suffering people now included

Today, the philosophy behind 'The People’s Cartoons' is simple. Anyone who has kept track of Zunar’s work would have noticed that his 'people’s cartoons' now include images of the suffering of the rakyat. These show the impact of the Malaysian government’s policies on the people.

Zunar unveiled the philosophy behind his 'cartoons for the people' and said, “The people’s cartoons are often accompanied by the inclusion of a ring, or a price tag for hairdressing services, to portray a symbol of wastage and extravagance. They may also include a tweet by the inspector-general of police (IGP), to symbolise oppression and tyranny.”

He talked about corruption in Malaysia and said, “Malaysians think corruption is nothing to do with them, but they are paying for the politicians’ corruption. My drawings include images of the suffering rakyat. It is all about us.

“The politicians don’t pay tolls on the roads. The rakyat do. The politicians are not affected by the petrol hike. The rakyat are. It is not about political cartoons. It is about the people.”

Zunar knows that drawing the Flom’s face has the ability to launch a thousand invectives, some of which have led to arrest warrants, raids on his office, threats to his staff, confiscation of his books and nine sedition charges.

Zunar attended various freedom of expression forums in London and said, “I am being persecuted by the government of Malaysia for drawing cartoons and for making the rakyat laugh at the government. The irony is that I am being prosecuted under the Sedition Act, an old British colonial law, introduced in 1948”.

Zunar is not just feared by the government of Malaysia, they also hate him. Each cartoon is worth a thousand words and the drawings convey a message in under a minute.

Malaysians are poor readers

Malaysians are poor readers and would prefer to watch a film, rather than read a book. They would hesitate to read a newspaper report of 1,000 words. Fortunately, Zunar’s cartoon will tell them what they need to know in an instant.

Zunar knows he has the potential to change people’s minds and said, “I use cartoons for reform. My objective is to instigate change.  My cartoons are a tool for a mental revolution, to be used for rebuilding the nation.”

Zunar’s cartoons have wide universal appeal. They don’t require translation into other languages. They provide light relief from the pressures of daily life.

Zunar encourages Malaysians to reform the government and do whatever they can. “Everyone has a part to play. If you can write, write. If you can speak, then speak. If you can blog, blog!” he added.

Rowson agreed that the role of the cartoonist was to mock the powerful and those who think they are better than the people. He said, “Any politician in England who says, ‘How dare you draw me, like that!’ would receive more ridicule.”

Zunar said that he was prepared to go to jail for making a stand and said, “Even my pen has a stand.

“Talent is not a gift. Talent is a responsibility. Talent is God-sent and so, it is important for me, to fight for my people. The trial will expose the cartoon-like nature of the government of Malaysia.”

Please sign the petition here, to urge Najib to free Zunar.

MARIAM MOKHTAR is a defender of the truth, the admiral-general of the Green Bean Army and president of the Perak Liberation Organisation (PLO).
~ Malaysiakini

Taib Mahmud 'given' RM3.7m Rolls-Royce

11:55AM May 25, 2015

Sarawak governor Abdul Taib Mahmud has a new toy - a 2012 Rolls-Royce Phantom - which he can use whenever he is in Kuala Lumpur.

According to whistleblower website Sarawak Report, the car is Taib's official vehicle.

The website suggests that the car was a 'present' by Taib's successor, current Chief Minister Adenan Satem.

However, it could also be owned by the federal government which provides official vehicles for governors, menteris besar and chief ministers whenever they are in the federal capital.

Sarawak Report said the car was bought last year and is currently housed in the the Yayasan Sarawak branch office in Kuala Lumpur.

The car sells for 365,000 pounds sterling (RM2 million) in Britain.

In fact, a search by Sarawak Report revealed that a second-hand 2012 Phantom would set one back RM3.7 million in Malaysia including taxes.

Timing questioned

Taib is well known as a fan of Rolls-Royce.

In 2011, Malaysiakiniphotographed one of his vintage Rolls-Royce Phantoms, which doesn't carry a road tax sticker or a number plate (photo).

Sarawak Report questioned the timing of the purchase of Taib's latest luxury car.

"Anyone who has witnessed the hardships of the rural poor, or read recent reports on the conditions of local schools, will also be tempted to consider what a difference RM3.7 million-plus might have made to numerous future lives.

"This especially at a time when GST has hit the pocket of each and every citizen, particularly the extreme poor.
~ Malaysiakini

Ku Li: Embarrassing if DPM's 1MDB call ignored

2:41PM May 25, 2015
By Kow Gah Chie

A veteran Umno leader has backed Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin's call to sack and investigate the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MBD) board of directors.

Speaking to reporters at the Parliament lobby, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah described Muhyiddin's position as an appropriate stand.

The Gua Musang MP and former finance minister said the government would be left red-faced if Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak did not heed the suggestion of his deputy.

Tengku Razaleigh (photo) was responding to Muhyiddin's remarks at a closed-door meeting with four Umno divisions.

In a leaked video of his speech, the deputy prime minister said he conveyed his call for the 1MBD board to be axed to Najib, but nothing happened.

"If, in the event the prime minister doesn't heed his deputy's statement to a group of Umno leaders, then it would be very embarrassing for the government because he (Muhyiddin) is a senior member," said Tengku Razaleigh, who is popularly known as Ku Li.

Given that the 1MDB issue was raised by the opposition four years ago, while former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad jumped on it several months back, he said Muhyiddin might have notified Najib of the problems surrounding the issue.

"I would have thought, being a deputy prime minister, he would have whispered to the prime minister to get PM's attention on the problems of 1MDB and the country," Tengku Razaleigh said

The deputy prime minister, he added, must have alerted Najib as to which way he was going to act.
~ Malaysiakini

Still no answer to why judge was sidelined

11:00AM May 25, 2015
The government has skirted around answering why a veteran appellate court judge was not elevated to the Federal Court.

Instead when asked why Justice Mohd Hishamudin Mohd Yunus was bypassed, de facto Law Minister Nancy Shukri only listed the criteria for someone to be appointed, citing Article 123 of the Federal Constitution on the qualification of judges.

However none addressed the question of why Justice Hishamudin was sidelined.

Her written reply to the question asked by M Kulasegaran  (DAP-Ipoh Barat), did say that the High Court, Court of Appeal, and Federal Court judges were appointed by the Agong upon the prime minister's advice.

Kulasegaran (photo) had asked in Parliament on Thursday what were the criteria for the elevation of judges and asked for reasons why Justice Hishamudin, the most senior Court of Appeal judge, was not elevated to the Federal Court.

Malaysiakini previously reported that Justice Hishamudin's namewas omitted from the promotion list, not once but three times, upon the recommendation of the Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC). It’s understood this was the result of a directive from the Prime Minister's Office.

The JAC was formed through an Act of Parliament when Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was premier, and it was intended to be transparent in the appointments of the judiciary.

Similar questions

Malaysiakini had also posed similar questions to Nancy and Chief Justice Arifin Zakaria through email since February this year, after an article on Justice Hishamudin's name being overlooked was put-up but there has not been a response from the minister and the CJ.

Justice Arifin (photo) when asked in 2013 about Justice Hishamudin’s promotion being stalled, maintained that the appointment or elevation of judges was made without the influence of anyone, and that it was at the prerogative of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, on the advice of the Premier Najib Abdul Razak.

“The PM did consult us (through the JAC). But it is not 100 percent the prerogative of JAC.

"JAC looks at the merits of the appointment (or promotion) and then it would be the prerogative of the Agong. It is unfair of you (the media) to pinpoint a particular judge,” Justice Arifin had said then.

It was learnt the directive from the PMO came following a decision where Justice Hishamudin led a three member bench in January 2013 that ruled two Hindraf leaders, M Manoharan and P Uthayakumar, as having legal standing to initiate a class-action suit against Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and his deputy Muhyiddin Yassin.

DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang, had also quizzed why Justice Hishamudin was sidelined. He questioned if the controversial Ayer Molek Rubber Company vs Insas Bhd case, where Justice Hishamudin had presided a case related to it, was a reason why the judge was bypassed twice and denied elevation to the Federal Court.

Justice Hishamudin, who was a High Court judge then, had dismissed controversial lawyer VK Lingam’s suit against Euro Money Publications, for an article titled ‘Malaysian justice on trial’ that appeared in the International Commercial Litigation magazine.

In that judgment dismissing Lingam's suit, Justice Hishamudin declared the Federal Court panel in the Insas vs Ayer Molek case - led by former Lord President and Chief Justice Eusoff Chin - was illegally constituted as the third panel member, Pajan Singh, was then only a High Court judge (only judges of the Court of Appeal and above can sit in the Federal Court).

Nancy's reply

For the record, Nancy's answer on Article 123 of the Federal Constitution explained that it lists down the qualification of judges, namely the person must be a citizen of Malaysia, was a lawyer for at least 10 years, or a member of the federal or state judicial and legal service.

The JAC requirements are that the judge must have integrity, competency and experience, is objective, not biased, is fair and has good morals.

It also lists that the judge must be stern in giving out judgments in the stipulated time and have the skill to write good judgments, is hardworking and is well physically.

Nancy (photo) said in her reply that under Section 26 (1) (a) of the JAC Act, that after receiving the report from JAC, the names would be submitted to the PM who after receiving the report, can ask for two further names for consideration.

A local daily had previously described Justice Hishamudin as 'a judge of big events' after he ordered controversial author Khalid Jafri of the book `50 Dalil kenapa Anwar tak boleh jadi PM' to pay RM4.5 million in damages to opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim.

He was also the High Court judge who sentenced express bus driver Hanafi Mat Hassan to death following the brutal rape-cum-murder of clerk Noor Suzaily Mukhtar, and recently declared that Section 66 of the Negri Sembilan Syariah Offences Enactment which bars men from cross-dressing as women, as unconstitutional.

Justice Hishamudin is also the first member of the judiciary to grant damages for unlawful detention and assault against the government, when he awarded former ISA detainee, Abdul Malek Hussin, RM2.5 million in 2007.

He is due to retire this September.

~ Malaysiakini

Saturday, May 23, 2015

‘Publicise SEIA studies on dams’

by Jonathan Chia, reporters@theborneopost.com. Posted on May 22, 2015, Friday

See Chee How
KUCHING: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem must immediately instruct Sarawak Energy Bhd (SEB) and Natural Resources and Environment Board (NREB) to publicise the Social and Environmental Impact Assessment (SEIA) studies conducted on the Baleh Dam and the Baleh hydro electric power (HEP) project, as well as undertake public consultation process before allowing works to commence on the dam project.

Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How, who made the call, said owing to the close proximity of Bakun and Murum dams to the proposed Baleh dam, the chief minister should also direct that seismological studies be carried out to assess the impact of the dam and the safety and security of the huge population living below the dams, from Belaga and Kapit down to the mouth of Batang Rajang.

“While the state may be encouraged by the economic benefits that we can derive from the hydro electric power projects, we should also be minded by the huge risk of devastating damages and losses of lives and properties experienced in other countries, caused by the failure of huge dams,” See, who is state PKR vice chairman, said in a press statement yesterday.

He was responding to The Borneo Post news report yesterday quoting SEB chief executive officer Datuk Torstein Dale Sjotveit as saying that the SEIA reports for both Baleh and Baram HEP dams had been delivered but only Baleh had been approved by the NREB.

As to the seismological studies, Torstein confirmed no such studies had been done on both dams and ruled out the necessity to do the studies.

“This is basically not relevant issues. Seismic is not for this. And it is also not relevant. To be clear, whether it is one dam or more it cannot create any earthquake,” he was quoted as saying.

See said as at present, the state’s policies and legal provisions on the requirements of SEIA studies were outdated and insufficient to meet the necessary international standards.

“The state continues and is still leaving it to the project proponent to engage its own consultants to carry out the Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs), cost-benefits analysis and social impact studies which clearly has tainted the objectivity and impartiality of the reports and studies.

“Further, the consultation with stakeholders and EIA approval are still not made pre-conditions for the implementation of such projects. They are unable to protect interests of people who are affected by the projects, neither can it address the devastation and annihilation of our unique biodiversity in Sarawak.”

See said the fact that the SEIA studies were shrouded in secrecy and were not open to public scrutiny, SEB and NREB had conducted themselves in contravention of the pleas of the chief minister for integrity, transparency and good governance under his state administration.

“In order to propel the state forward to attract foreign investments, it is imperative for us to prove our credentials to be able to raise and meet the necessary standards of compliance in our administration and governance.

“On the contrary, the international community will not have the confidence to take us seriously. The state’s efforts will be futile and the desired results and achievements will not be met.”

He therefore called on the chief minister to intervene, to release the SEIA for public scrutiny and to initiate open and extensive consultation with all the stakeholders and interested persons before the final approval is to be granted for the implementation of the Baleh and Baram dam projects.

Read more: http://www.theborneopost.com/2015/05/22/publicise-seia-studies-on-dams/#ixzz3ayEMSFoD